The Safari Experts
lion projects

Lion projects


... are various facilities and locations which have been set up to help protect this endangered big cat from extinction. Most commonly the main work for these projects is taking in orphaned cubs after farmers have poisoned their mothers.

Over the years we have encountered several lion projects, but few have ultimately proved sustainable. Unlike cheetah projects, it is very difficult to get local people to buy into the concept of releasing rehabilitated lions back into their neighbourhoods. Rural Africans understandably tend to fear these big cats and get very angry when they prey on their domestic stock.

The few lion projects that we are presently aware of tend to no longer attempt to rehabilitate or release their cubs, but instead raise them to be habituated to humans in order that paying visitors can get up close to them, maybe take them for a short walk. Although we appreciate that anything which makes people fall in love with lions is probably useful in their fight for survival, but we do feel uneasy about this kind of commercial exploitation.

The only place we know which presently does a 'walking with lions' experience is out of Thorntree Lodge, just upstream from the Victoria Falls in Zambia, but we have not experienced it personally.
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